The ongoing boom in technological innovation requires media to continuously adapt. The marketing industry must keep up by creating innovative marketing strategies and techniques to pivot with each shift and disruption in the digital marketplace.
When effective, these marketing innovations give rise to industry trends. Every marketing professional should know the trends to stay current. In earning a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing online from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB), students will study these trends and new media consumption, incorporating data analysis and computer-aided problem-solving to devise effective marketing strategy.
Brand Ambassadors, Tastemakers, and Influencers
The concept of influencer marketing is as old as the industry itself. Celebrity tastemakers have long been recruited to market goods and services. They act as brand ambassadors, either formally through advertisements or in their wide sphere of personal influence through friends, colleagues and fans.
With the proliferation of social media, this avenue of marketing is more important than ever. Brand affinity and loyalty still exist. But celebrities, whether pop stars, actors or reality show contestants, have become the brands that consumers trust and follow obsessively. Well-known celebrities who are loved and adored by their fans can reach millions of consumers in a single tweet or Instagram post.
A product hash-tagged by a modern tastemaker could achieve the hype that traditional promotion campaigns strive for. And, of course, those celebrities can play the more conventional role of brand ambassador too, whether as the face of an ad campaign or through overt product placement in a music video or reality TV show.
Simply getting a celebrity on board is not enough, however. Marketers must conduct market research about their ideal target audience for the product or service they are promoting. Research into favorite celebrities of that target audience will inform not only the choice of influencer but also the media channels.
The Customer First
Piggybacking on influencer marketing, word of mouth drives modern trends and product/service engagement. According to a 2016 HubSpot poll, only 3 percent of survey respondents consider marketers to be trustworthy. Yet they trust one another. Customer reviews and word-of-mouth referrals through friends and trending social media topics are what consumers respond to and rely on when investing in a product or service.
Hence, the marketer becomes less of a traditional direct advertiser, pushing customer sales as the immediate result. The successful marketer nurtures the customer as the promoter. The aim is to build trust and brand affinity by investing in the customer relationship. Customers share their brand affinity by posting on social media, writing reviews and talking to friends at work or the bar.
Another key to building a positive customer relationship is to ensure customer service is as personalized and efficient as possible. Customer service representatives should be personable and knowledgeable. They must have the tools and authority to address the customer's concerns directly and quickly. And, ideally, customer service reps are human.
Not all companies can afford a large customer service team. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technology, interactive chatbots can be used to good effect in customer service, at least to augment the customer service provided by humans. Chatbots also help with sales, engaging customers by offering product information and answering questions.
However, chatbot interactions could go either way. If a chatbot effectively addresses a customer's questions or concerns, the customer leaves the interaction feeling satisfied. But if the chatbot fails to address the customer's needs, is pushy or pops up constantly as a sales bot, or does not provide human help if requested, the customer could leave the experience with negative feelings toward the brand or product.
Native Ads and Banner Ads
According to data from a Sharethrough/IPG Media labs survey, modern consumers respond better to native ads than traditional banner ads. Native ads can take many forms, including Facebook posts, sponsored Instagram posts or clickable links in YouTube videos. These ads are generally less obstructive, and, objectively, more effective.
Modernizing Search Optimization
Consumer engagement with search engines is changing. More and more, consumers are bringing search queries to Siri or Alexa. This trend is requiring content creators to expand SEO content beyond keyword search. Particularly, they must think in (and include in copy) questions that people would actually ask their devices, in the vernacular, that could relate to the product or service being marketed. Websites with language that closely matches those questions have a good chance of rising to the top of Siri's list of algorithm-based search results, for instance.
Clearly, marketing professionals must constantly change their tack, adjusting strategies to fit trends in media consumption and consumer engagement. In studying these strategies through online degree programs like UTPB's online BBA in Marketing, students can stay abreast of trends every marketing professional needs to know to keep ahead of the curve.
Learn more about UTPB's online BBA in Marketing program.
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